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Oct 30, 2019

performers protesting hadarat nashim in event for Rav Elimelech Firer

The issue of "hadarat nashim" is up again, and from a more interesting angle.

The annual fundraiser for Ezra Lamarpe, led by Rav Elimelech Firer, is coming up soon and is being planned. The show as planned was going to be a tribute to Shlomo Artzi with other singers singing his songs and other songs in a tribute to him. The concert is for the general public, not for the Haredi community, and will be mixed seating. After performers were approached and had agreed to perform at the event, it became known to them that it had been planned with no female singers or performers. For example, one band leader had been asked to perform without his band, just him and one other, leaving out the female member of his band. He only realized it was intentional that she was excluded at some point after he agreed to perform. The same story for other performers included. The reason, obviously, is because Rav Firer heads Ezrra Lamarpeh and as a frum haredi Jew cannot and does not want to be in a situation of women singing at his performance with him present.

After the performers realized what had been arranged, they started to back out, saying they do not want to participate in an event that excludes women, especially women they normally perform with. Even Shlomo Artzi himself said he did not like how it was arranged and is going to try to get the event changed and to convince Rav Firer to allow it to include women.
source: Ynet and others

In all the recent events, the hadarat nashim was protested by external groups. Also, the hadarat nashim was manifested by the audience - women were not invited at all or were planned to be seated separately or in a smaller area.And in all those events, the event was for the haredi community. In this instance, it is the performers themselves protesting the event, it is an event for the general public and not for the haredi community and the hadarat nashim is in the lineup of performers, not the audience.

Being an event for Rav Firer, it is understandable that he won't listen to women sing or watch them perform. Perhaps his organizers should have been more upfront about what they were doing when they arranged the details rather than trying to do it in a way that nobody would notice. Then they would not have felt deceived. Still, putting on a performance for the general, secular public, and excluding women in the process, is a recipe for disaster.

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  1. Are you sure that it was because Rav Firer is going to be there in person, or was it that the organizers didn't want to have a hand in arranging an event that involved women performers, thereby be making the attendees transgress what they, the organizers, think is an aveira? E.g. how patronizing was it really?

  2. good question, and I dont know the answer, though I am not sure how much it makes a difference.

    I would add that of all the criticism I have seen today of the opposition, I could easily replace the words Rav Firer with the chilonim and say the exact same thing. Just like it seems the chilonim are upset and want Rav Firer to change his ideals and have women sing, Rav Firer arranged (through the person in charge of the event) an event in which he expects the secular public he wants to come to change what is important to them.

    I understand the problem, and dont see a solution except for future situations that might be similar, in hindsight, for it being arranged with more sensitivity rather than trying to sneak it through. Rav Firer cant and wont have women sing, but on the other hand the secular public sees importance in equality and not taking away opportunities form women.


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